Right-to-Know Requests Provide Background on Vacation Pay; Hall Cites Long-Term Illness To Pennsylvania Police Chief Association
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – First, Mark Hall was relieved of his duties as secretary-treasurer of Clarion Borough. Next, he was relieved from his position as police chief and was terminated from his position as a police officer. Borough officials gave no reason for the actions.
Just three days after he was removed from office as secretary-treasurer at a special Clarion Borough Council meeting on Saturday, November 5, Hall offered his version of events to the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association (PCPA).
“November 8, 2016, the President Mark Hall notified us that he has discontinued his employment as Chief of Police in Clarion Borough due to a long-term illness preventing him from performing his duties,” states the PCPA website. “Chief Hall expressed his appreciation to the members, and we wish him well during the difficult times ahead for him. In accordance with the By-Laws of the Association, David Spots, 1st Vice-President and Director of Public Safety of Lower Paxton, Township, will now be serving as Acting President of the Association.”
Hall was formally suspended by Borough Mayor Dave Walters on Tuesday, November 14, via letter and terminated from his police position by Borough Council on Wednesday, November 15.
Hall has the option of requesting a hearing by the Clarion Borough Civil Service Commission, but he must request such a hearing. According to a reliable source, a deadline of December 1, 2016, was set. As of 8:30 p.m. on December 1, there was no confirmation that such a request has been received.
Jack Troese, solicitor for the Civil Service Commission, said his interpretation of the rules for the Commission called for treating hearings like executive session. Since the Commission is autonomous from Borough Council, there is some question if the results of a hearing, if held, would be public information.
Blair Hindman – Hall’s attorney at that time – told exploreClarion.com that the main issue appears to be vacation time paid to Hall.
“They basically claim he took some vacation pay which he wasn’t entitled to the last few years,” said Hindman. “An audit showed that, and he went in to talk with them. If they want to make an issue of that, it’s their prerogative. The only issue is – did he take vacation pay that they say he technically wasn’t entitled to?”
Two Right-To-Know Requests pursuant to the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law were submitted on behalf of exploreClarion.com to Clarion Borough regarding vacation paid to Hall in the calendar years of 2013 to 2016 and gross wages paid to Hall during the calendar years 2010 to 2016.
Gross wages increased dramatically in the years with the vacation payouts. According to the information provided by Clarion Borough, Hall received 80 hours of vacation pay in 2013 and 160 hours of vacation pay yearly for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
While the amount of vacation time is not unusual for a long-term employee, the jump in total pay during 2013 through 2015 raises speculation that Hall took the vacation pay and continued to collect his regular salary at the same time.
Hall had the means to do this because he was secretary-treasurer and police chief of the Clarion Borough, giving him complete administrative control. Any deviation of “buying back vacation time” is outlined under contracts and was not authorized.
It appears Hall may have made unauthorized payments of over $19,000.00 to himself, but no charges have been filed on behalf of Clarion Borough against Hall in addition to termination from all of his positions.
Gross Vacation Pay paid to former employee Mark Hall:
12/23/2013 – 80 Hours – $2,376.00
07/07/2014 – 80 Hours – $2,483.20
08/18/2014 – 80 Hours – $2,483.20
06/08/2015 – 80 Hours – $2,996.80
08/17/2015 – 80 Hours – $2,996.80
04/25/2016 – 80 Hours – $3,139.20
05/09/2016 – 80 Hours – $3,139.20
2010-2016 W2 Gross Wages Paid to former employee Mark Hall
2010 – $57,032.15
2011 – $58,543.06
2012 – $61,149.38
2013 – $74,874.21
2014 – $72,660.96
2015 – $86,725.96
2016 – Information Not Available
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